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PD: MS-13 member arrested in connection to 2016 murder

Jerlin Villalta, 21, allegedly killed one-time gang member whose remains were at site of former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital


BRENTWOOD — Members of the FBI's Long Island Gang Task Force arrested 21-year-old Jerlin Villalta at an immigration office in Bohemia Wednesday for the 2016 murder of Jose Pena-Hernandez.

The Villalta is a native of El Salvador, and has been living in Brentwood, according to law enforcement. Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office say the MS-13 gang member pleaded not guilty at arraignment Thursday, and is being held without bail.

The remains of his alleged victim, Jose Pena-Hernandez, were found on the property of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital in October of 2016.

Gang members reportedly thought that Pena-Hernandez, also at one time a part of MS-13, had been in talks with law enforcement.

Villalta was indicted last year with many other gang members, but his name hadn't been made public.

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